Page 51: of Maritime Logistics Professional Magazine (Q1 2015)

LNG Transport & Technology

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TECHNOLOGY hip managers who operate vessels on behalf of their owner

THE AGE OF BROADBAND clients, are the lynchpin of international shipping. As the Increasingly, the communications mix has shifted to broad-

Sindustry has gone through rounds of relentless cost cut- band. Telaccount, the Bernhard Schulte subsidiary, says in ting, at times of increasing regulatory scrutiny, and commercial a recent bulletin: “The demand for transferring data to and pressures for high standards, third party managers have ? lled the from the vessels is growing each day,” citing new develop- need for raising quality, while maintaining tight cost controls. ments including ECDIS, e-Navigation, and the Maritime La-

The rise of third party managers in the 1980s and 1990s, driven bor Convention (creating demands for “internet cafes” aboard initially by banks needing to operate repossessed vessels and vessels). then, later, by a push towards reducing crewing costs, coincided Geneva-based Specialist ship manager SeaFlag provided in- with revolutionary advances in technology that have enabled sights into managers’ priorities and the importance of commu- vessels to become, effectively, nodes in a broader network. nications technology. Mr. Massimo De Vincenzo, SeaFlag’s

Strategically, the management business is about building top executive, told MarPro: “On board the managed vessels economies of scale and sustainable long-term advantages, we have double broadband satellite systems for both voice and which might be in the form of proprietary recruitment and train- data traf? c. The system is managed by Inmarsat and provides ing, but also in creating differentiation through technology. the possibility to always minimize the communication costs depending on vessels position. The system is used for both

CHANGING LANDSCAPE communications with of? ce and with third parties.” Capt. Mo-

The ascendancy of the managers has occurred at a time that toyama from the top management at MMS Co. Ltd (based in the character of shipping ownership has also changed, with Tokyo) offered a different perspective, telling MarPro, “Basi- new-age ? nancial players competing alongside old-time ship- cally, all communication with vessels from the of? ce is e-mail ping companies. Consider Ridgebury Tankers, the owner of and telephone. We have not found a suitable technology which 13 Suezmax tankers-backed by the Riverstone Group (a PE could bene? t all stakeholders jointly. We do not want to rush powerhouse with a slant towards energy businesses). While into experiments which burdens seafarers or of? ce staff and private, its internet website provides a window into its unique yields nothing or little.” selling proposition, noting that it “Partners with world-class Seacom Electronics, the V Group company, also handles pool operators and ship managers for maximum performance, Inmarsat’s Fleet Broadband, as well as VSAT. Demonstrating safety, ef? ciency and compliance.” the economies of scale in managing upwards of 1,000 vessels,

The larger managers have brought technology in-house. Ber- Seacom cut a deal three years ago with equipment and com- nhard Schulte Ship Management, itself created in 2008 by join- munications provider KVH, based in Rhode Island, to deliver ing four smaller managers, established a technology division, VSAT services to its vessels. in late 2012, which would provide a platform for implement- Maritime businesses are complex and not always suited to ing technology solutions across the globe in multiple locations. out of the box solutions, so the large managers also have devel-

According to the company, TDC frequently engages with vari- oped proprietary software and systems. V-Group, for example, ous external consultants to review and ensure the quality of uses the KVH service to connect ships to onshore networks various software it builds. TDC works with many industry using ‘ShipSure,’ an enterprise resource planning (ERP) soft- leading consultants in India, Cyprus, and Germany to deliver ware developed in-house. Technology ? gures prominently in high quality maritime solutions. A communications division, V-Ships’ Vessel Management System, which complies with

Telaccount, based in Cyprus, is a packager and service pro- requirements for Safety Management Systems, and includes vider for multiple networks- including Inmarsat and Iridium, on-line training for crew. used internally but also deployed externally to third parties. Describing a recent upgrade, V-Ships provided hints of the

V-Ships, part of the larger V-Group (owned by PE inves- power behind its Vessel Management System, V-Ships ex- tors) sees technology at the fulcrum of its value proposition. plaining, “The development, maintenance, version control

Complementing its core ship management business – another and approval of the VMS is built around Microsoft’s powerful wholly-owned V-Group company, Seacom Electronics, sup- SharePoint collaboration technology that is being introduced plies equipment for navigation and communications (as well into the group.” Keeping 1,000+ vessels on the same page is as selling air-time), to the maritime industry. Yet another now easy task. V-Ships adds “The distribution and on-going group company, Seatec, provides turnkey services for project updating of the vessel version will be through a new VMS management services for vessel upgrades and re? ts. Its wide- application that will use advances in ShipSure’s replication ranging offerings include IT network design, as well as com- technology to keep shore and shipboard VMS documentation munication systems. in synch over the existing communication links.” Maritime Professional 51| |

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Maritime Logistics Professional magazine is published six times annually.